Dr. Pat

About Dr. Patrick Keelan

Feeling Challenged? Work with a psychologist who knows how to overcome challenges… Depression, anxiety, stress & other psychological issues may seem as daunting as completing a marathon. My approach to “Plan, Take Action & Track Progress”, has helped 100s of clients and is the same approach I used to succeed in the Boston Marathon & Ironman Canada.

Having and building good self-esteem: Is it a slam dunk or are there downsides?

In this article, I discuss whether there are disadvantages to having and facilitating good self-esteem. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, clients often ask for my help in improving their self-esteem. These are typically people who can clearly benefit from changing the negative view they have of themselves with its deleterious effects on their moods, relationships and performance in various domains including work and school. In turn, when these clients take steps toward developing a more positive view of themselves it typically results in significant improvement in these areas of their lives. So taking steps to foster self-esteem in yourself and others is recommended to the point of being a slam dunk, right?...[more]

2018-04-09T18:11:01+00:00 By |Categories: Self-Esteem|

Tracking progress in rebuilding a relationship: Like in a marathon or a triathlon

In this article, I discuss how the approach to tracking progress in a marathon or a triathlon can be helpful in rebuilding a relationship. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I help many clients improve their relationships in couples counselling. In some instances, the relationship has deteriorated so much that one or both partners have very little motivation to work on skills to improve the relationship and may even be considering getting out. At such a dire point, the partners may believe that they do not have the energy to work on the relationship. They may additionally believe that even if they were both willing to work on the relationship, there would be little point in doing so given the relationship’s current hopeless state. In these apparently pessimistic circumstances, I try to be realistically optimistic with the couples with whom I am working...[more]

2018-03-25T21:24:57+00:00 By |Categories: Relationships, Sport & Performance|

How two categories of stress management skills complement each other

In this article, I discuss how using each category of stress management skills is improved by using skills from the other category. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, clients often ask for my help in managing stress. My plan to help them typically involves using two categories of strategies—(1) Problem-focused coping in which they take action to reduce or eliminate sources of stress like problems at work or school, relationship issues, and financial difficulties; and (2) Self-focused coping in which they use skills and activities to improve their emotional reaction to sources of stress. In turn, self-focused coping strategies are of three kinds...[more]

2018-03-11T22:51:39+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Stress|

Change your thinking to manage your emotions and your behaviours

In this article, I discuss how you can target different levels of thought for change in order to feel better emotionally and to break problematic behaviour patterns. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often see clients who are seeking help with one or both of the following issues—experiencing unpleasant emotional states they would like to change (depression, anxiety, anger, frustration and guilt, to name a few) and engaging in problematic behaviour patterns (substance use, binge-eating, procrastination, being unassertive, and avoiding social situations, to name a few). Fortunately, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) offers strategies which help people address both these issues—alleviating the intensity of unpleasant emotions and breaking problematic behaviour patterns. CBT helps people address these issues by targeting negative thought patterns for change...[more]

2018-02-25T21:36:41+00:00 By |Categories: Addictions, Depression|

What to do if you’ve decided that therapy doesn’t work for you

In this article, I discuss how to proceed when you’ve determined that therapy doesn’t work for you. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often get clients or prospective clients who are reluctant to proceed with therapy, a particular form of therapy or a specific therapy technique because they have determined either that ‘it doesn’t work’ or ‘it doesn’t work for me’. Such beliefs about therapy, forms of therapy or therapy techniques not working at all or not working for the individual may be in many instances inaccurate. More importantly, these negative beliefs can interfere with the individual making progress in therapy going forward. In the following sections, I will discuss why these negative beliefs about therapy can interfere with progress and how to change them to beliefs which are more conducive to success...[more]

2018-02-25T21:38:54+00:00 By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

How to pick yourself up when you’ve ‘fallen down’

In this article, I discuss how to keep moving forward in the face of repeated adversity at the hands of others. One of my favourite movies is Falling Down from 1993 which stars Michael Douglas. It features a man having an extremely frustrating day in which he encounters one thing after another going wrong. His frustration is compounded by it being created primarily by people who appear to care only for themselves and who enjoy inflicting suffering on others. The film begins with Douglas’s character, referred to as ‘D-Fens’ in reference to the letters on his license plate, being let go from his job because he was ‘not economically viable’. On his drive home on a blistering hot day, he is stuck in the middle of noisy traffic because of construction work which does not seem to be serving any purpose. D-Fens abandons his car and encounters a series of frustrations to which he responds each time with a violent retaliation toward the source of his frustration. This includes taking a baseball bat to the...[more]

2018-01-29T22:14:46+00:00 By |Categories: Anger, Depression|

Improve your relationships by changing the way you think

In this article, I discuss how to improve your relationships by using skills from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I see a lot of couples who want help in improving their relationships. Much of the work involves applying skills from Dr. John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House model. These skills focus on two main parts of the ‘relationship house’—how well the couple manages conflict and how good a ‘relationship friendship’ they have. Skills to manage conflict entail learning how to communicate constructively about issues while friendship-building skills involve the couple spending time connecting with each other and nurturing each other’s preferred ‘love languages’. Couples who consistently apply Gottman’s skills to manage conflict and build friendship typically improve their relationships. Unfortunately, in many instances couples struggle in having the motivation to use the skills and stay consistent at them to the point that their relationships improve. A factor which plays a key role in this lack of motivation and inconsistency is negative thinking the partners have about each other and their relationship...[more]

2018-01-14T22:22:51+00:00 By |Categories: Relationships|

How to respond effectively to criticism: Part 3–What to think

In this article, I discuss thinking skills you can use to take the emotional ‘sting’ out of being criticized. In my previous two articles on how to respond effectively to criticism, I discussed how what to say and when to say it can improve your chances of giving an effective response. In this article, I discuss how what you think when you are criticized can also determine the effectiveness of your response. I will focus on strategies to help you think in a manner which will contribute to an effective response...[more]

2017-12-31T23:57:37+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Self-Esteem|

How to respond effectively to criticism: Part 2—When to respond

In this article, I discuss how to choose the best time to respond to criticism. In my last article, I indicated that an effective response to criticism involves three elements: what to say, when to say it and what to think. After doing so, I discussed the first of these elements—what to say. In this article, I will focus on the second of these elements—when to give your response to criticism. As was the case with the ‘what to say’ response element, the ‘when to say it’ element partly depends on whether the criticism you are responding to is constructive or nonconstructive...[more]

2017-12-17T22:15:07+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Self-Esteem|
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